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Coach Jon Burnett

Senators name Burnett head coach

Helena American Legion Baseball is proud to announce the hiring of Jon Burnett as the head coach of the Helena Senators.

The former Senator player’s Reps teams have accumulated a 216-86-1 record over the last five years (a .715 winning percentage), and his ability to coach and train players is highly valued in the Helena program.

We are excited to see “Coach B” lead Helena into a new era and to carry on the legacy of sportsmanship and winning baseball passed down through Coach Thennis.

By Richie Melby, Sports director for KTVH in Helena

Helena Senators announce Jon Burnett as new manager

HELENA – The Helena American Legion Baseball program didn’t have to look far for its new manager.

General manager Greg Thornquist told MTN Sports Sunday evening that Jon Burnett has been hired to replace the retired Dave Thennis as head coach of the American Legion Class AA club. Thennis announced his retirement last week.

“The baseball board met on Saturday and unanimously agreed that Jon be the head coach,” said Thornquist. “Jon has been involved with the program for maybe 14 years, he is a wonderful coach, which is apparent by his record coupled with his baseball knowledge, love of the game and ability to work with the kids and fellow coaches.”

“I’m very excited to continue the tradition coach Thennis has established,” said Burnett. I’ve coached with him and been a player for him in the last 17 years. There will be a lot of similarities in the way we run the program, I’ll have my own twist but it will be a very similar style in the program.”

Burnett, a former Senator player, has guided the Class A Helena Reps and compiled a 216-86-1 record in the past seven seasons, good for a .715 winning percentage. The Reps posted a 43-14 record this past season, including a 21-7 mark in conference play. Helena went 1-2 at the district tournament, ending its season in a loss against Bozeman.

“I’ve been head coach of the Reps for seven years and assistant for seven years so I’m not new to the scene but pretty excited to get to coach against and be colleagues with some of those guys that are established at the AA level,” said Burnett.

Burnett takes over for Thennis, who led the Senators to three consecutive state titles beginning in 2001. Thennis amassed more than 650 wins during his 20-year run with the program.

“We have a pretty strong core of kids that will be moving up but we lose quite a few seniors this year so it will be interesting to see how younger kids work into the AA side,” Burnett said. “I’m excited to see them continually grow and we have some pretty solid kids coming back, especially our pitching staff. I’m excited for next year, see how kids grow and step into the role of AA players.”

Coach Thennis retires after 20 years

By Curt Synness,

Longtime Helena Senators Legion baseball coach Dave Thennis is hanging up his spikes.

Over the course of a history-making career that spanned three decades from 1998-2017, Thennis compiled a lifetime record of 656-522 for a .557 winning percentage. During his 20 seasons, the Senators averaged 33 wins a year. His teams won three State AA championships (2001-03), qualified for the State tournament 16 times, and posted 17 .500-plus seasons. All of which are team records.

When the Senators captured the State title in 2001, it was only the second American Legion baseball crown in local history, and the first in 33 years, since 1968.

But despite all the numbers, records and championships, what Thennis — who started out as a pitcher for the Reps and Senators in the late 1980s — will remember the most are the thousands of people he was associated with in the Helena Legion baseball program.

“Coach ‘T’ always put doing the right thing ahead of all else, including winning,” related Helena pitching coach Seth O’Connell, who was a player on two of the Senators’ State championship teams. “His passion and respect for the game is unmatched, and he approaches everything he does with great pride and preparation.”

O’Connell noted that Thennis “always put the kids first,” and he insisted things were done the right way, with class.

“Wow. Where do I start? I have a million thoughts,” said Thennis, when asked to sum up his career after announcing his retirement on Wednesday. “I really just keep thinking of the players I have coached. The coaches I’ve worked with, and the opponents we played. What a collection of memories, I have learned so much from them.”

Thennis, who retires as the second-longest tenured AA coach, after Brent Hathaway (Missoula Mavs), was known for his high baseball IQ, and his intense, fiercely competitive nature. But he could also be good-natured and fun loving, and had a reputation as a classy sportsman — win, lose or draw.

“Dave had no tolerance for poor sportsmanship … his teams wouldn’t win every game, but they carried themselves as good citizens,” O’Connell stated. “He always knew what to say, and what the kids needed to hear, in any situation. He gave me goose bumps hundreds of times.”

O’Connell, who was named the MVP of the 2002 State Tournament, recounted how “Coach T taught me how to play the game the right way,” to always approach it one pitch at a time.

“He is, and always will be, my role model,” O’Connell said.

Thennis said that he’s “proud of our accomplishments,” and thankful to have been a part of such a great program.

“Hopefully my players found value in their experience,” Thennis said. “I will miss practice, bus rides and tight ball games. But mostly I’ll miss the players and coaches.”

Senators edge Great Falls

By Curt Synness, Helena IR

In the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs at Kindrick Legion Field on Friday, the Helena Senators were clinging to a slim, one-run lead over the Great Falls Chargers.

Helena’s Carter Pappas stood on second base, having reached on a base on balls, and advancing on Isaiah Meza’s ground-out. Next, teammates Conor McCarvel and Eamonn Byrne followed with back-to-back RBI singles for a 5-2 cushion.

And then when reliever Tanner McMahon held Great Falls to a single run in the top of the ninth, Helena clinched a 5-3 Class AA Legion victory. The Senators improve to 27-22 on the year.

Hometown starter Brett Jacobs worked 6.0 innings, scattering six hits and permitting just one run, for the win. McMahon got the save, striking out three in three frames.

Chargers’ reliever Alan Larocque was saddled with the loss.

McCarvel, Byrne and Ray Moore, Jr., paced the Senators’ offense, with two hits apiece. Moore and Payton Pappas each produced an RBI, with Pappas lacing a double.

Great Falls out-hit the hosts 10-8, led by Wyatt Bleskin’s three hits.

“Brett and Tanner both made some critical pitches tonight,” Helena coach Dave Thennis said, “and we got a few timely hits, especially late, from Conor and Eamonn.”

Andrew Rosston

Senators maul Medicine Hat

By Curt Synness, Helena Independent Record

Keaton Ralston fired a two-hit shutout, and Colin Sassano banged out four hits as the Helena Senators captured both ends of a Class AA doubleheader over Medicine Hat, 10-0 and 11-1, both 6-inning run-rule victories.

Helena improves to 26-22 on the year after sweep at Kindrick Legion Field on Wednesday.

In the curtain-raiser — which started 45 minutes late due to an umpire shortage — Ralston struck out four Moose batsmen, while walking three.

The Senators scored two runs in the first inning, five in the second, two in the fourth, and one marker in the sixth to end the game. Carter Pappas and Andrew Rosston posted two RBIs apiece, and Kienan Stief and Ray Moore Jr. both stroked a pair of hits. Stief had the game’s lone extra-base hit with a double.

In the nightcap, Sassano just missed hitting for the cycle, lacing a triple to the right-center gap and a double over the left fielder’s head, to go along with a couple singles. He and Moore led the RBI derby, driving in three runs each. Moore bashed a two-RBI triple to the left-center wall in the fifth, before being called out on an appeal play for missing first base.

Helena tallied one run each in the first and third frames, followed by four, three and two counters, respectively, over the final three innings.

Tayler Carlson started on the bump and pitched a complete game win, scattering seven hits. He lost his shutout in the sixth. The Canadians were hampered by nine errors on the day, while the home team committed just one miscue.

“Both guys, Keaton and Tayler, threw primarily fast balls and curve balls; and a few change-ups. Lots of strikes,” said Helena coach Dave Thennis. “It was a nice defensive night to go along with timely hitting.”

Helena Reps

Reps bounce Bucks

The Helena Reps swept Bozeman in a pair of Class A Montana Southern District conference games on Tuesday, defeating the Bucks 10-0 and 11-3.

In game one, Hunter Sickerson was a master of efficiency on the mound, throwing only 42 pitches in his shortened run-rule complete game win, giving up only three base hits over 5.0 innings and allowing only one runner past first base. Ty McGurran, Riley Chisholm, and Brady Anderson (double) lead the Helena offense with a pair of hits each.

In game two, McGurran and Chisholm (double) each roped three hits apiece for the Reps to again lead the offensive charge, while Caeden Suero, Grady Koenig, and Seth Barrett each had a pair of hits with a double. Matt Krieger additionally chipped in with a pair of singles.

Dylan Steinmetz picked up the win on the mound, giving up two runs on two hits over 4.1 innings. Nik Jemmings pitched a scoreless and hitless 1.2 innings, and Walter Evans closed out the final inning for the Reps.

The pair of victories brings Coach Jon Burnett’s Reps to 19-3 in conference and 41-10 overall. Helena next hosts the Belgrade Bandits on July 13 in a pair of conference games at Kendrick Legion Field starting at 5:30p.m.

Game one

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
BZMN 0 0 0 0 0 X X 0 3 3
REPS 1 4 0 3 2 X X 10 10 1

W – Sickerson (9-1).

Game two

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
BZMN 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 4 3
REPS 4 3 0 0 4 0 X 11 15 2

W – Steinmetz (3-1).

Gun Raffle

10 Guns in 10 Days Raffle

We have our winners!

Congratulations to the winners of our 10 Guns in 10 Days Raffle. We decided to release all the winners on September 1, 2017, so check the image below to see if you are a grand prize winner. Thank you to everyone for supporting Helena American Legion Baseball!

Before going to Capital Sports, have them call ahead at (406) 443-2978 to make sure Dave Iken is available, as he will be the only one distributing the prizes. Each winner will need to have a valid ID and will need to fill out the appropriate paperwork.

Gun Raffle Winners

Support Helena American Legion Baseball through our 10 Guns in 10 Days raffle fundraiser!

  • Tickets are $40 per ticket or 3 tickets for $100
  • Maximum of 500 tickets sold
  • Must be 18 years to purchase. All laws and regulations apply.
  • One ticket will drawn per day for 10 days beginning September 1, 2017
  • If winner does not want a gun, they will be given Capital Sports and Western store credit equal to the cost of that particular gun.

You can purchase tickets from:

  1. Any Helena American Legion Baseball player
  2. The concession stand during any Helena American Legion Baseball at Kindrick Legion Field
  3. Contacting General Manager Greg Thornquist at (406) 439-6598 or

Gun Drawings:

  1. Ruger LC9s 9mm compact pistol blk/ poly frame
  2. Ruger 10/22 MIC  22LR 15rd wood stock copy WWII era M carbine
  3. Ruger 10/22 Take Down  22LR Synthetic stock
  4. Savage trophy hunter package 308 Win blk/ synthetic stock w/ 3-9X40 bushnell trophy scope
  5. Colt Expanse AR-15 5.56mm m-4 flat top rifle
  6. Ruger America 300 win mag rifle stainless/ synthetic stock
  7. Ruger America 30-06 Rifle blk synthetic stock
  8. Ruger American std 17hmr 22″ bbl blk/synthetic stock
  9. Ruger American stnd 22LR 22″ bbl blk/ synthetic stock w/iron sights
  10. Hoyt Powermax bow package 5 pin fuse site, Qad hunter fall away rest, fuse stablizer 60-70# adjustable length

All proceeds will go to benefit Helena American Legion Baseball!

Nik Jemmings

Reps whip Muckers

The Helena Reps swept the season conference series from the Butte Saturday, whipping the Muckers 18-0 and 17-3 in five-inning shortened Class A Montana Southern District conference games.

In game one, Ryan Barrett picked up the win on the mound by throwing a three-hit complete game shutout. The Reps picked up 14 hits in the game with Zach Spiroff (3 hits, 4 runs, triple), Hunter Sickerson (4 RBI, triple), Ty McGurran (3 RBI), and Kadyn Craigle (2 doubles) all contributing multi-hit games.

Game two was the Nik Jemmings show, as Jemmings was 4-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. He also pitched the final 1.2 innings of no-hit baseball from the mound, striking out two.

Even though he was removed due to the Reps 14-run lead after three innings, Walter Evans picked up the win for the Reps on the mound, giving up a lone run in his shortened outing. Brady Anderson also had a pair of hits and a couple of RBI in the victory.

The sweep moves Coach Jon Burnett‘s club to 39-10 overall and 17-3 in the conference. They will  next host the Bozeman Buck on Tuesday in a pair of conference games at Kindrick Legion Field in Helena.

Game one

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
REPS 1 6 1 8 2 X X 18 12 0
BTMC 0 0 0 0 0 X X 0 3 4

Game two

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
REPS 1 0 7 6 3 X X 17 11 1
BTMC 0 0 2 2 0 X X 3 5 8
Ty McGurran

Reps sweep past Butte

Watch the KULR8 video recap

The Helena Reps pushed their Class A Southern District Conference record to 15-3 with a sweep of Butte on Wednesday, defeating the Muckers 7-1 and 15-6.

In game one, Hunter Sickerson dominated the Muckers in his complete game outing from the mound, picking up his eighth win of the year and driving his team-leading ERA down to 1.16. Sickerson allowed no earned runs on four hits hits scattered across 7.0 innings, striking out five.

Offensively for the Reps, Matt Krieger (double) and Ty McGurran led the team with a pair of hits each as Helena capitalized on four Muckers errors.

In game two, the bats came alive for Helena as the Reps pounded out 12 hits. Caeden Suero (triple, 3 hits, 2 RBI), McGurran (triple, 3 RBI, 3 runs), Krieger (3 runs), and Seth Barrett each produced a multi-hit game, and again the Reps were aided by seven Butte errors.

Nik Jemmings was outstanding in relief of Riley Chisholm (4.1 innings), throwing 2.2 innings of no-hit ball from the hill to pick up the win, striking out four.

The sweep brings Coach Jon Burnett‘s record to 37-10 on the season. They will next head to Butte to face the Muckers in another conference doubleheader on Saturday, July 8 starting at 1:00 p.m.

Game 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
BTMC 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 4
REPS 2 0 0 3 0 2 X 7 6 1

W – Sickerson (7.0)

Game 2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
BTMC 1 1 0 0 4 0 0 6 8 7
REPS 3 0 0 3 4 5 X 15 12 2

Chisholm (4.1). W – Jemmings (2.2)

Hunter Sickerson and Grady Koenig

Reps blast way to 4-1 in Spokane

The Helena Reps outscored their opponents 54-18 over their five games in the 2017 Fourth of July tournament in Spokane Valley, Wash. over the weekend, giving them a 4-1 record over the three days.

In Friday’s opening game, Grady Koenig and Hunter Sickerson each doubled, had a pair of hits and knocked in three RBI a piece to lead the offense to a 9-1 win over the Spokane Pepsi Diamondjaxx. Matt Krieger threw a two-hitter on the mound for the Reps over 5.0 innings to pick up the win.

Friday’s second game brought a 14 hit and 15 run performance from the offense, with Caeden Suero and Zach Spiroff (two doubles) leading the way with three hits a piece. Kadyn Craigle chipped it with a pair of hits and RBI, and Grigsby drove in three as Helena ran away with a 15-2 blowout win over Spokane East Valley. Dylan Steinmetz threw a spectacular 3.0 innings for the win, giving up one hit and striking out eight batters. Seth Barrett and Jacob Howell were given mop-up duty, each throwing an inning of shutout work.

On Saturday morning, Helena defeated Gonzaga Prep in a tight 7-6 win. Craigle jump started Helena’s bats with three hits, and Howell and Spiroff (three RBI) each contributed a pair of hits in the win. Ryan Barrett gave up one earned run and struck out four over 4.0 innings for the win, and Walter Evans earned the save by holding down the Bullpups over the last 3.0 innings.

In game four, Sickerson lead the Reps with a three-hit, three-RBI game, and Ty McGurran, Krieger, and Spiroff each had a pair of hits as the Reps pounded Spokane West Valley 20-1. Krieger, Spiroff, Steinmetz, Seth Barrett, and Keanan Horne each drove in two runs in the 16 hit Helena parade of hitters. Nik Jemmings was stellar on the mound to pick up the win, giving up one run on two hits over 4.0 innings. Craigle threw the final inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

On Sunday, Helena’s bats garnered 10 hits but they were unable to translate them into runs as the Reps fell to the Spokane Crew, 8-3. McGurran was 4-4 in the game, and Krieger and Koenig (solo home run) each had a pair of hits, but it wasn’t enough to capture a win. Steinmetz struggled on the mound over 3.2 innings in the loss, only allowing one hit but walking eight batters. Spiroff pitched the final 3.1 innings.

The 4-1 weekend moves Coach Jon Burnett’s club to 35-10 overall. They will next host a doubleheader with the Butte Muckers on Wednesday, July 5 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Ethan Keintz and Chase Nielson

Independents finish 4-1 in Missoula

The Helena Independents went 4-1 during the Missoula Mavericks Class B tournament from June 29 to July 2, raising their record to 24-8.

In game one against the Missoula Mavs, Ethan Keintz and Chase Nielsen each had a pair of hits and both Keintz and Justice Wrzesinski drove in 2 RBI as the Independents won 7-4. Cy Miller and Peyton Witham shared the mound work, with Witham picking up the win.

In game two, Helena fell in a tight game to the Kalispell Lakers, 4-3. Keintz and Nielsen again led the team with a pair of base knocks, and Rudy Barkley went the distance on the mound, but it wasn’t enough as Barkley was saddled with the loss.

In game three, the Independents won in a low scoring affair, 3-2. Helena only managed three hits, a triple and single by Miller and a base hit from Caden Sell, but Sam Shepherd drove in two runs as the Independents squeaked out a victory. Campbell Turner went 6.1 innings, allowing no earned runs on three hits, striking out three. Hunter Lindgren earned the save by recording the final two outs on only two pitches.

Helena earned it’s third win of the tournament in game four, with Barkley sparking the offense with a three-hit performance. Will Butler hit a bases-clearing, three-run triple and Nielsen drove in two more as the offense backed the quality showing from Keintz on the mound, who gave up two earned runs on six hits over 5.0 innings for the win.

In Sunday’s exciting finale, Helena pulled off an extra-inning comeback win in the 9th inning, thanks to a walk-off double from Keintz, scoring Barkley. The Independents trailed 7-4 going into the final frame, but Keintz tripled to drive in Wrzesinski and Barkley to close the gap to one, and then Nielsen hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

Keintz gave Helena a three-hit day with two doubles and a triple, and Nielsen drove in four to lead the offense. Nielsen and Lindgren shared the work on the mound, with Lindgren picking up the win.

Coach Dane Broadhead’s club next heads to Belgrade on July 3 to take on the Bandits in a doubleheader.